Paris opens on Friday (15) a major exhibition of about 200 objects by the Mexican artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954) that has been hidden under lock and key for half a century, including a testimony to the great power he left behind in nature. right away.
From the famous ‘huipiles’ that helped her become famous, to the orthopedic shoes that marked her life, to the corsets that she made herself, the Galliera Museum, the sewing temple, shows in these things for the first time in the French capital.
After Kahlo’s death in 1954, the objects, along with thousands of photographs, were confiscated at the behest of Diego Rivera. They were identified and listed in 2004.
Since then, they have been shown frequently, in cities such as London.
“The image of Frida Kahlo continues because she was able to break many restrictions in her body (…). A person who solved the problems of disability, happiness, political opinion and his gender,” the exhibition’s curator explained to AFP. , Circe Henestrosa .
The visitor immediately notices, when entering the room dedicated to the work of stylists, the great power left by those things and clothes.
Jean-Paul Gaultier said the artist’s corsets and belts, Karl Lagerfeld photographed top model Claudia Schiffer with her eyebrows drawn together and a bow “à la Kahlo”, while Valentino brings back beautiful heads reminiscent of images of the Virgin Mary.
– Sharing the same culture –
The story of Mexican clothes and Frida Kahlo is a true testimony of the connection of culture, that is to the economic history of Mexico, for centuries.
In some indigenous countries, such as Chiapas, clothing (such as huipiles) is given by Christian religious leaders after conquest, to identify indigenous tribes.
Other dresses, like the resplendent one, covered with ruffles around the face, arise directly from the fascination of the women of the isthmus of Tehuantepec for the image of the Virgin Mary, decorated with rays surrounding his image.
Centuries later, it was Frida, the daughter of a Mexican and German mestizo, who “appropriated” that native image.
He does not set foot in Tehuantepec, but he is proud of his heritage, he has turned these regional clothes into a Mexican symbol, like a suit or a charro hat.
“We have many old dresses, but she chose a dress that represents a powerful woman from a matriarchy. She chose a dress that helps her communicate her political views,” said Circe Henestrosa.
Frida Kahlo went to Paris only once, to participate in a group exhibition, in 1939.
“She seems to have walked around dressed like this. There are many eccentric-looking women, but none can compete with the Mexican dress,” the artist Vassily Kandinsky later wrote. of the opening of the exhibition.
The study cycle did not end with the death of the artist, as evidenced by the influence he has made to this day on contemporary stylists.
Bright flowers, white and yellow, the brand Comme des Garçons proposed in 2012 stands out, completely covering the model.
Or Alexander McQueen wearing a metallic corset for Givenchy in 2001.
Some fabrics that could have come as far as Holland, and even Mexico in the 17th century, have returned to European shores, to the delight of craftsmen and fans.
© Agence France-Presse